All because of happenstance: Dan Quayle went to DePauw University with Randy Reifers, who is a colleague of Jay Sigel, who in turn is a friend of Dennis Satyshur. The relationship has evolved into the former vice president of the United States planning to play golf at the Caves Valley Club in the Chesapeake Cup, an amateur competition that is quickly attracting some of the game's premier performers.
Caves Valley has only two years of maturity but is fulfilling the promise of its drawing board expectations. Two of the most enthusiastic visitors have become self-appointed missionaries for Caves Valley in carrying a positive message to distant fairways. Reference is to Sigel of Berwyn, Pa., and Vinnie Giles of Richmond, Va. -- both veteran members of the U.S. Walker Cup team.
They played on opposite sides two years ago in the first official competition Caves Valley staged. There was a return invitation extended for 1992, which they accepted, and now both are returning June 5 and 6 to again partake of the Chesapeake Cup challenge, plus the cordiality and hospitality the event affords.
This time, because of their interest, the pairing sheet will include the name of Quayle, easily the best golfer, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, to ever have a White House business address in the over 200-year history of the republic. But it didn't take any convincing to get Quayle to team up with one-time DePauw teammate Reifers, of Dublin, Ohio.
The ex-vice president played Caves Valley shortly after it opened in 1991 in the company of Reg Murphy, Rob Bennett and Doug McCorkindale. "He said he was really looking forward to a return visit," commented Satyshur, the professional at Caves Valley. "It's going to be a distinct pleasure to have him come back."
Quayle and Reifers will be one of 20 two-man teams in the Chesapeake Cup. Statistically, 23 of the 40 golfers will be first-time entrants. This is only another indication of how the Caves Valley reputation has spread to points near and far on the golfing planet.
They'll be playing in a similar format that has been changed, or fine-tuned, only slightly. The morning round on June 5 will be what's called a better ball formula. In the afternoon the players will select drives and then hit alternate shots. On the next day both individual and aggregate scores will be recorded.
"We listened to the recommendations of the players, along with our own reaction to what transpired, and decided this might be ideal from the standpoint of making the final round more exciting," explained Satyshur. "It will give teams that might seem far out of contention the chance to make a charge."
Such accomplished names in the sphere of amateur golf as Doug Ballenger, David Eger, Jim Holtgrieve, Frank Ford, Eric Kirsch, Vince Zachetti, Fred Ridley, David Sezna, Steve Smyers and Buddy Marucci, among others, are in the lineup. So, too, will be the defending champions, Charles Woody of Durham, N.C., and Joe Walter, Baltimore-born who now plays out of Stone Mountain, Ga.
There's a physical adjustment being made to the first hole at Caves Valley, but superintendent Bruce Cadenelli says the alteration will add to the playability. Instead of tee shots frequently bouncing right and into the woods on the dogleg-left fairway, the slight change of contour will make for a more equitable result, providing the shot is well-struck.
The Chesapeake Cup crowd will be limited to club members and invited guests. With Murphy involved as part of the selection committee for this year's Walker Cup and serving as the starter for the Chesapeake Cup, there's reason to believe that performances here in the two-day test are going to influence the makeup of America's subsequent Walker Cup contingent.
Caves Valley is scheduled to play host to the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in the early fall of 1995, when 200 participants vie for places in a 64-player field. The Chesapeake Cup, this year and next, plus how well the Mid-Amateur is received, will position Caves Valley for a future Walker Cup, National Amateur and, conceivably, a U.S. Open -- something the Baltimore area hasn't had since 1899.
That was held at the Baltimore Country Club's Roland Park Course and Willie Smith won what was the fifth U.S. Open ever played. It meant a check for $150, which was considered an enormous payoff for those modest fiscal times.
Contrast that payoff to the $250,000 Tom Kite received for winning the same title last year and it only underlines how golf prizes have escalated from a primitive age.